Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich-Reckenholz

Genetic Diversity in Swiss Red Clover Germplasm

Decades of on farm red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) seed production led to numerous, well adapted, persistent red clover accessions, commonly referred to as Mattenklee landraces. Although not used any more in present day agriculture, seed lots of approximately 100 old landraces are still available. So far, there was no information on the genetic variability of these potentially valuable Mattenklee landraces. By means of genetic markers (AFLP) we were able to show that the Mattenklee landraces form a genetically distinct group and can be clearly separated from red clover cultivars. The large diversity of Mattenklee landraces shows their value for red clover breeding as well as for the preservation of biodiversity. The eight genetically characterised landraces were subdivided into three distinct groups. Analysis based on morphological characters confirmed the large diversity among Mattenklee landraces. Furthermore, the assessment of agronomic parameters emphasised their value for red clover breeding. The information on genetic diversity presented here allows for a more efficient conservation and utilisation of Mattenklee landraces.

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